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An admirable group, you'd think, engaged in the kind of things we instinctively support, an agency we automatically commend. Or at least, that's what you'd think. Until you look at their homepage and notice that the third of three "News in Brief" items is about how Fatah in Ramallah has arrested a journalist for decrying that the Ramallites aren't allowed to demonstrate about the events in Gaza (which, by the way, isn't true - they did for a few days, until the demonstrators stopped coming). Far be it from me to defend Fatah, but it does seem to have been fact that at the same time Hamas types were arresting, torturing and even killing fellow Gazans they felt had been perhaps not on their side in the recent violence.
At which point you begin to wonder who these folks really are, and what their agenda is. But I leave that for a future investigation which I probably won't do.
Anyway, last week Mr. Kampfner wrote a column (at the Guardian, where else?) which I missed at the time, bemoaning how the BBC has been cowed and no longer dares tell the story of the Israel-Palestine conflict as it really is.
Language, as any propagandist knows, is the most important tool. Hamas fighters are called "militants". That, I am told, is a halfway house between "terrorist" and more sympathetic labels such as "guerrillas". The Israeli army is often referred to by its formal title, the Israel Defence Forces. The bombardment of Gaza has regularly been described as "the Israeli operation". Such language denudes coverage of impact.
In a perfect world, it would be "Hamas freedom fighters facing fascist Israeli murderers", I suppose. Someone's gotta assist the poor Palestinians, after all, given their awesome power:
Led by Regev, a charismatic, Australian-born spokesman, Israel has amassed a formidable public relations operation. Following the failures of the Lebanon war it has created a National Information Directorate. The power of the message has long been at its strongest in the US, where academics and journalists know that criticism of Israel may harm their careers. (My italics).
All in all, it's a rather illuminating example of how such people see the world.